Even though some NBA mock drafts have Kentucky forward Terrence Jones falling out of the lottery in tonight’s draft, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas thinks Jones will still go in the middle of the first round.
“I don’t think he hurt himself at all by coming back to Kentucky for his sophomore season,” said Bilas. “I think he is a better player now for having come back. I don’t think last year he would have been picked as high (in the draft) as some people say and think. No one can really say where he would have gone.
“But I think he came back and improved a lot. He rebounded better. His problem is that he’s between positions. He’s not a true three (small forward). He’s more of a four man who can drive and shoot, but not an overly powerful four (power forward). I thought he had a good year for Kentucky and I have him going in the middle of the first round in the 13 to 15 range.”
Bilas, who will be on the ESPN draft coverage tonight, says there is no question that Jones has talent.
“He’s not a freakishly great athlete, but he is a very good athlete. He is strong, just not a prototypical power forward and really not a three. That is his problem. Where do you put him?” Bilas said. “I still think he is a very good player and has a chance to be a rotation player in the league (NBA). Whether it is as a starter or not remains to be seen.”
Bilas thinks UK¿point guard Marquis Teague “is still maturing” after winning a national title as a freshman.
“When he came out of high school, I really was not sure if he was a true point guard,” Bilas said. “He did a really good job at the end of the year. He was better coming off screen and rolls and did a better job making decisions with the ball. He’s very fast, very good in transition. He’s not a great penetrator in the half court, but he’s good. He has a chance to be a very good player. I¿like him very much. He is a good athlete and has a chance to be a really good NBA point guard.”
Teague’s defensive ability could help him, too.
“You have to be able to defend to play in the NBA. You can’t put your hands on people like you can in college. In that respect, the NBA is less physical than college. There is not as much bumping and grinding,” Bilas said. “You still have to be able to stay in front of people and he has the ability to do that. He’s a good defender. He plays hard and is a really good kid. He’s not as fast as his brother Jeff (a NBA veteran), but he has good speed.
“More than anything he has to go to work on knocking down shots. He’s a good finisher, but he’s got to get a mid-range game and where he can score over size. He will not always be able to get to the rim and finish in the NBA.”
“They will both play in the NBA. Doron has got a skill that translates to the league — he can really shoot,” Bilas said. “He can shoot from midrange and from deep. He is very efficient. He averaged around 14 points for two straight years and shot close to 50 percent from 3-point range both years.
“He makes open shots. He can help you space the floor and he hits shots off the dribble. He is a good player. He is not a superior athlete, which is what will probably keep him out of the first round. He’s not a point guard, but a scoring two guard. But I do have him right at the top of my second round.”
He has Miller being drafted just a bit later.
“Darius will play in the league. He blends in. He can defend. He can make shots. He has a good, strong body,” Bilas said. “He has played on good teams and that’s what he’ll do in the NBA. There are so few stars in the NBA, you have got to be able to do things as a complementary player and he’s shown he can do that. He can guard, handle the ball, the ball does not stick in his hand, he passes. I like him a lot and think a lot of NBA teams do, too.”